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tv   Nightly Business Report  WETA  March 14, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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>> susie: the world watches japan as questions mount about the human tragedy and the potential damage to the global economic recovery. >> the global recovery will not be derailed by the events in japan, given everything we know today. >> susie: from the auto industry in japan to the future of nuclear energy here in the u.s., we continue our coverage of japan's massive earthquake. you're watching "nightly business report" for monday, march 14. this is "nightly business report" with susie gharib and tom hudson. "nightly business report" is made possible by: this program is made possible
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this program is made possible by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. captioning sponsored by wpbt >> susie: good evening everyone. my colleague tom hudson is off tonight. it's day four of japan's monstrous earthquake and tsunami, and the full brunt of the damage is still unknown. the death toll is expected to exceed 10,000 and the country continues to battle the threat of a catastrophic nuclear accident. now japan is focused on the enormous human suffering, but attention around the world is also shifting to the economic
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consequences of the disaster. many economists believe the country is likely to slide into recession. so what will that mean for the rest of the world? suzanne pratt reports. >> reporter: there's no question the human toll of japan's epic earthquake and tsunami is incalculable. after all, how can anyone possibly put a price tag on the tragic loss of thousands of lives and homes? nevertheless, there are already estimates as to the cost of recovery and rebuilding. those projections range from $200 billion to as much as a trillion over several years. still, many economists say the devastating damage to the world's third largest economy is unlikely to halt the global recovery. business cycle expert lakshman achuthan says that's because america's economic rebound remains on course. >> the u.s. economy is at a stage in the business cycle where it is actually accelerating to the upside. events in japan will not derail that acceleration, and therefore
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with the u.s. economy demanding more the rest of the world will be lifted by that. >> reporter: in 2010 japan's total output of goods and service ran at $5.7 trillion. a hefty number by world standards, but still only a third of u.s. g.d.p. for other experts, it's simply too early to say how much of an impact friday's disaster will have on economies around the world. the devastation struck the northeast region of japan, which by some estimates accounts for 7% to 8% of the nation's g.d.p. experts say it's likely to take years to rebuild that area. what worries economist bob brusca is what we don't yet know about what comes out of the area's plants or factories. >> the question is beyond that whether there is anything made in this region that is specific or unique to industries that the world now is going to be without. there are semiconductor plants in this area, and we don't really know if there are any
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plants or suppliers of those plants that make unique goods that go into other people's products. >> reporter: even with the world focused on japan, many economists say political unrest in the middle east remains the biggest threat to the global recovery. that's because of what it means for energy costs. >> we know there are still problems in the middle east, and i still think that as you look at things everybody has more questions about japan, but the big news, the more fundamental news for the world economy is still going on in the middle east. >> reporter: the tragedy in japan reminds us that economies around the world are interconnected. what happens in a province in japan can touch the lives and businesses of others thousands of miles away. suzanne pratt, "nightly business report," new york. >> susie: here are the stories in tonight's n.b.r. newswheel: u.s. stocks sell off on worries about japan. the dow fell 51 points, the nasdaq lost 14 and the s&p 500 was down seven. trading volume started the week with 962 million shares moving on the big board and 1.8 billion
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on the nasdaq. fed chairman ben bernanke meets with his interest rate committee tomorrow. topping its agenda? whether to change its $600 billion bond-buying program that's set to expire june 30. some members fear the bond buys could spur inflation when combined with rising prices for food, fuel and other commodities. but former fed staffer vince reinhart thinks the fed will stay the course. >> they probably won't do anything to touch any of the characterizations of policy, because they don't want market participants to get confused or think they're going to be rushing for the exits anytime soon or, given the tension in the objective, adding to the overall amount of qe2. >> susie: and the nasdaq could be making a bid for its arch rival, the new york stock exchange. reports say the nasdaq omx group has lined up $5 billion in financing and could make an offer as soon as tomorrow.
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financial advisory service deal reporter says the nasdaq could put a $12 billion price tag on the n.y.s.e. euronext. >> reporter: i'm erika miller. coming up, i'll take you backstage to meet nanette lepore, a designer who is proud of her fashions and where they are made. >> susie: back now to our top story-- japan. one industry that's in critical condition in japan is the auto industry. joining us now to talk about the latest developments there, rebecca lindland, senior research director at i.h.s. automotive. it hi, rebecca. >> hi, susie. >> susie: all right, so i understand that many japanese auto plants were closed today. give us an update of what's going on with the japanese automakers. >> from what we're hearing, and of course this is a very fluid situation. we have toyota, subaru and mazda closed through wednesday. honda is actually closed
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through friday. so we're estimating about 125,000 units are goinging to be lost this week in production out of japan. >> susie: but how long do you think these disrup disrupt-- disruptions are going to last is it going to be just this week and especially when you think about how many people have been stranded and all these workers and their familieses in such disarray. >> it's really an incredibly challenging situation for everybody, susie. and we certainly don't see it ending by friday. you know, this week. we have logistics issues. we've got plant issues. we don't even know the condition of the roads that some of these plants. so even if they were able to function d do they have power. do they have people. because the people's homes have been so disrupted-- disrupted so there's many, many issues well beyond the automotive industry that are holding up production here. >> susie: an all of this comes at a time when marches was supposed it to be a big
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sales month for the japanese automaker. let's take a look at this graphic of material, of numbers that you have supplied us with where before the earthquake, total production from the japanese automakers was expected to be about a million in the month of march. with toyota making about half of them. so do you see business being stalled for march or do you think that you know what impact is this going to have? >> the consumer will start to notice the impact in a few weeks. so if you have ordered something like the toyota prius which is only sourced out of japan, your vehicle may be delayed. if you have bought an infinite, if you bought a lexus except the rx, if you bought a scion, all of these products only come out of japan so you will see impact. keep in mind that these productses are still in inventory here in the states and there is a lot of ships on the seas coming over here. so the impact won't be felt today or tomorrow. it will be in the next few
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weeks. that being said, we're already starting to see some companieses like toyota trim north american production for fear of the supply shortages. >> susie: and what about the suppliers themselves. you know what kind of shape are they in, the companieses that supply the components and the electronics and technology that go into all of these carses? >> it really depends upon what we find when they get to the factories. and the reports coming out of japan. because we just don't know yet. some people have been able to source materials from another location. but as david said at the beginning of the show, you can't necessarily guarantee that. so it's not an easy fix. a lot of things are unique to certain plants. and that's what we have to really find out. >> susie: it's just a terrible situation no matter how you look at it and we hope japan has a quick recovery. >> thank you so much rebecca. >> absolutely. >> susie: appreciate you coming on the program.
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we have been speakinging with rebecca lindland senior research director at ihs automotive. >> susie: uncertainties surrounding the japanese disaster weighed on global markets today, and wall street was no exception. let's take a look in tonight's "market focus." we begin in japan, where
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investors logged their first full day of trading since the disaster struck on friday afternoon. the nikkei 225 index plunged over 6% today, nearing a 2.5- year low. now here in the u.s., companies in the nuclear energy business and their suppliers were in the spotlight. general electric led the dow's decline. g.e. supplied reactors to one of the damaged nuclear power plants in japan. but analysts at citigroup see limited liability for g.e. because most countries place liability on the operator regardless of fault. nevertheless, g.e. shares fell 2%. as the japanese disaster clouds the outlook for the u.s. nuclear industry, uranium-related stocks sold off. shares of cameco, the world's second largest uranium miner, tumbled more than 15%. traders are worried that many nuclear projects in development will be put on hold. u.s. nuclear-powered utility
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companies also came under pressure. shares in entergy, exelon and southern company each lost ground today on the likelihood the japanese catastrophe will spark calls for increased regulation. and worries about nukes had investors looking for alternative energy sources, and there were several standouts in solar power. first solar, trina solar and renasola all moving sharply higher. m.e.m.c. electronics also getting a nice pop, up 11%. the company known for its silicon wafers used in semiconductors also makes solar panels here in the u.s. so with supply disruptions in japan likely, demand for its solar panels is expected to soar. we also saw some weakness today in luxury goods makers. japan is the world's third largest market for those goods. so coach and tiffany, both lower. about 20% of their yearly sales come from japan.
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and analysts expect a drastic cutback in consumer spending in the region. and wrapping up, a big deal in the works today. warren buffett is buying lubrizol, the specialty chemicals maker. it was only a week ago he said his berkshire hathaway was shopping for new acquisitions. then today we hear a $9 billion deal for the maker of lubricants and petroleum additives values lubrizol at $138 a share. it also includes the assumption of $700 million in debt. lubrizol shares surged almost $30 to $134.68 a share. that's a jump of 27%. and that's tonight's "market focus."
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japan's nuclear problems are prompting a second look at the safety of nuclear energy. governments across the world today said they would slow down development of new nuclear power plants, but china and russia are moving forward on new plants. so is the united states. darren gersh looks at an industry whose future is now in doubt. >> reporter: at a white house briefing today, regulators would not say whether u.s. nuclear plants could withstand the kind of massive earthquake that has crippled japanese reactors, though they insisted u.s. plants are safe. safe enough, white house spokesman jay carney said, to continue counting on nuclear energy for a growing share of our electricity needs. >> we view nuclear energy as a very important component of the overall portfolio we're trying to build for a clean energy future. >> reporter: but as millions watch reactor buildings exploding and japanese children
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being tested for radiation, environmentalists like damon moglen says that's not the conclusion the american people will draw. >> i think that what people are really seeing right now is the true cost of nuclear power is that even if they work lots of the time, sometimes they don't. and when they don't, the implications are too horrific to even consider. >> reporter: the nuclear energy institute, which speaks for the industry, considers judgments like that premature. after the japanese reactors are shut down, the industry says there will be time to study what happened and what should change. for now, the institute's richard myers calls evidence of extensive radioactive leaks limited at best. myers claims while many of the japanese plant's systems failed, the primary safety features did not. >> the reactor vessel, which holds the fuel and the primary containment, which holds the reactor vessel are not breached. the technology is doing what it is supposed to do. >> reporter: two new nuclear plants, one in georgia and in
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south carolina, are expecting to get permits later this year. the president has called for $36 billion in government-backed loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors and more than $800 million for nuclear energy research. a year ago, there was talk of a nuclear renaissance in the united states. >> to meet our growing energy needs and prevent the worst consequences of climate change, we'll need to increase our supply of nuclear power. it's that simple. >> reporter: today, nuclear's future in the u.s. now looks anything but simple. while the companies we spoke with says they are going forward with their plans to build new plants, analysts says talk of a nuclear renaissance now appears over. darren gersh, "nightly business report," washington. >> susie: here's what we're watching for tomorrow: as we mentioned, federal reserve policymakers meet to decide what's next for interest rates. the decision is released the same day. february import sales are out as well. also tomorrow, our "word on the
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street" is "recovery." we'll highlight three companies that could benefit from the improving economy. >> susie: many americans spent the weekend "online," as in standing "on line" to buy apple's ipad 2. estimates vary between half a million and a million units sold. by comparison, it took a month for apple's original ipad to cross the one-million mark. from coast to coast, many locations sold out of the new tablet computer by saturday afternoon. piper jaffray analyst gene munster said most of the buyers were first-time apple owners. the next play in the n.f.l. lockout will be in federal court at an april 6 hearing. the players want an injunction to prevent n.f.l. owners from moving forward with a work stoppage. the trouble began last week when contract talks fell apart. players dissolved their union and filed an anti-trust lawsuit against team owners.
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now if the players' request is granted, the lockout would be lifted and football would reopen for business. think for a second about the clothes you're wearing. chances are virtually nothing is k in the 10s, the numberricasoi. was 95%. but as erika miller reports in
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tonight's "shop talk," some american designers are hoping to reverse that trend. >> reporter: designer nanette lepore is known for her flirty, feminine fashions. >> the dresses are very long and fluid. lots of little fluffy skirts and >> reporter: but she topayer unr clothes for another reason-- almost all are made in manhattan. yes, 20,000 garments a month are cut, pinned, sewn and boxed in the garment aesire o lortpreserve the character ofw york city and support budding u.s. designers. but it's more than just a p.r. move. >> we can control our inventory. we have speed to market. if saks is selling out of a top, i can recut it and have it back in their stores in 10 days to >> reporter: the garment district is still the center of fashion manufacturing in the united states, but it's not what it used to be. over the past 50 years, many designers have shifted production overseas where operating costs are lower. lepore says that's understandable for cheap clothing with thin profit margins.
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but she argues it is still cost- effective to produce high-end fashions domestically. >> when we have done cost comparisons on certain garments, we will take something and we will price it in n.y. and we will price it in china. we will do that often to sort of eee beff >>re generally, with tosnt district is about a square mile wide and home to many of the city's 9,000 fashion-related firms. but there are only 16,000 apparel manufacturing jobs now,. upscale boutique chain leggiadro moved its manufacturing here from italy five years ago. brooks ross runs the company along with his mom ann, the founder and creative director. they say local production gives them more flexibility and quality control. >> we can make 30, 40 pieces of something and see what works and what doesn't work. and if we need to tweak something, we are at the liberty to do it at that point. >> we know who is working on our merchandise, and we know that
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the skill of the sewer is top. >> reporter: but do their customers care where the garments are made? >> our customer loves it. they adore having it. it's v >> our customer loves it. they adore having it. it's very important that it's made in the u.s. >> reporter: for all the advantages, it has not been enough to keep the garment district from fraying. lepore says it's critical to get top american designers to make more clothing in the u.s. >> it wouldn't take much. it would take one or two lots from some of the top designers in america to deci"i >> it wouldn't take much. it would take one or two lots from some of the top designers in america to decide, "i'm going to be socially conscious today. i'm going to try to save our country. i'm going to try to bring back manufacturing to this country so we can have a thriving middle class base." >> reporter: so let's check out
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manufacturing to this country so we can have a thriving middle class base." >> reporter: so let's check out nanette lepore's campaign to save the garment center. she and other high-end designers say local manufacturing is cost- effective and gives them better production control. she and other high-end designers say local manufacturing is cost- effective and gives them better production control. their challenge is convincing other fashion houses to make more clothing here. if they do, lepore bets there will be unexpected benefits. >> when you manufacture, you create innovation. and without the manufacturing, the innovation doesn't happen. >> reporter: words from someone who knows a successful runway show can mean steady work for about 350 american factory workers. usines pbeport," new york. you can comment on our blog or watch any programs you may have missed. or you can follow us on twitter, you can comment on our blog or watch any programs you may have missed. or you can follow us on twitter, ar if ngeeti'took at
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biz bizrpt. and finally, a watershed moment for the media. for the first time, more people are reading news online than in print. 46% of americans say they get their news on the web, checking in at least three times a week, while just 40% read a regular print edition of a newspaper in at least three times a week, while just 40% read a regular print edition of a newspaper that much. the pew research center for excellence in journalism also found that online advertising revenues are set to overtake print advertising revenues for the first time this year. and the pew folks say tablet computers like the ipad are speeding up the migration from t that's "nightly business report" for monday, march 14. we want to remind you this is the time of year your public television station seeks your support. support that makes programs like
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"nightly business report" possible. again, thanks for joining us. i'm susie gharib. good night everyone. we hope to see all of you again tomorrow night. "nightly business report" is made possible by: this program was made possible by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. captioning sponsored by wpbt captioned by media access es.owgbhrgwgbhrg
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